Wal-Mart Credit Compaint

I don't know if this is a result of the credit tightening or just mindlessly poor service by Wal-Mart credit as provided by GE Capital

To Whom It May Concern:

The following complaint is about our Wal-Mart credit account. I understand that a third party runs this service, but we have exhausted ourselves attempting to get satisfaction from Wal-Mart credit. Further, I don't think at this point there is anything you can do for us, as we are already in the process of shifting our business to other suppliers. However, I wanted to acquaint you with our situation.

We are a seasonal campground business with 175 campgrounds in rural locations across the country. As such, Wal-Mart has always been an important supplier for us, both for our internal supplies needs as well as a source of goods for resale in our stores. We have done business successfully with Wal-Mart for literally decades. Because Wal-Mart is an important supplier for us, most of our managers and many of our senior employees have Wal-Mart credit cards.

This month, I was disappointed to find that despite sending in payments, Wal-Mart credit still showed our account as having no available balance. I was getting five or six calls a day from my employees in the field who were standing in a Wal-Mart checkout lane with a full cart calling me to tell me their card was declined. Upon calling Wal-Mart credit, I was told our last two payments checks were being held for three weeks. Apparently the computer said our account had unusually high activity compared to past months and so this was their mandated response.

I found this odd after holding the account and paying on time for so many years, but I tried to explain that ours was a seasonal business. We open all of our facilities every year in May and June, and so we always have a spending bulge this time of year as inventory is restocked. While spending was high vs. March or April, it was absolutely normal compared to last June, or the June before that.

I was told that the computer did not look at past years. I understand this. What I could not understand is why there was no way for a long-time customer to get a human being to look at his account and override the computer. Even a cursory examination would show that our spending habits were just the same as in past years. My guess is that our spending habits hadn't changed, but the computer algorithms had.

Anyway, I was told that Wal-Mart credit was unwilling to do any such examination on my part. I was told that if we wanted to check our bank every day and watch for cleared checks, we could fax evidence our payments had cleared to the credit office and they would unlock our account. I suppose I could do this, but why bother? I have plenty of other retail and credit relationships that value my business, understand my seasonality, and don't impose extra work on me just because their computer models don't look at more than a few months of history.


  1. Esox Lucius:

    Try being on a cross country motorcycle trip when the credit card company shuts down your only VISA card because their computer model says that while you live in Chicago, your credit card has made purchases in Indiana, Michigan, Ontario Canada, and then Minnesota over the course of 3 days. Then try to explain to them, while sitting in front of a gas pump that if they don't turn on your credit card you will never get home, or get a hotel room at your next stop.

    Compound that with the fact that there are no cell towers for my company in the Minnesota hinterlands and nobody has pay phones anymore.

    I understand their need for loss prevention, but you think that they would have a phone number where they could read back your last few charges and select 1 if you really made them and select 2 if you did not.

  2. Nick S.:

    You used your account more than you did last month, you sent in payments, and they don't want to take your money for 3 weeks?

    Legally, they have to put your payment in when they get it, correct? Sure they can lower your credit limit or put a hold on your account, but they still have to apply the payment. I guess whether they put it in the bank or not is a separate matter.

    I'm sure there are very few people in the company who have any authority over how their computer system works.

    Sucks for them...

  3. Dr. T:

    My credit card company uses similar algorithms, but a verified phone call fixes the problem immediately.

    I recommend switching to a card that offers a 2% or greater rebate on all purchases. Dump the Walmart card (that only has a 1% rebate).

  4. Fred Z:

    Consider shorting or selling wal-mart stock.

    All organizations eventually go senile, taken over by bureaucrats. The symptoms are usually pretty obvious and this surely is one.